2018 Silence and Song Retreat ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From the Parish Priest's Desk Dear friends in Christ, “It’s a crime that almost 40 per cent of the population saw a reason to vote No,” cried a Melbourne man celebrating the result of the postal survey, and quoted by The Australian on Wednesday. Just over 20 years ago, sodomy was still a crime in Tasmania (South Australia was the first State to decriminalise homosexual activity in 1975). Now, those of us who don’t agree with the dangerous fantasy of same sex marriage are being labeled criminals! One can only agree with Dostoyevsky’s observation in The Idiot that “liberals are incapable of allowing anyone to have his own convictions and immediately answer their opponent with abuse or something worse.” While we must do all within our power to defend the freedom of the Church, and the civil rights of freedom of speech and association, we must not be surprised that these will be under siege; nor should we (and this especially includes Catholic politicians) in any way agree to accept same sex marriage in a Faustian bargain to purchase our own freedom. It is critical for us as Catholics to bear consistent and clear witness to true marriage (not only sacramental marriage, but as a natural institution). Assuming the Commonwealth Parliament is lawfully constituted at present (which is by no means certain, given the ongoing dual citizenship crisis), any attempt to legislate for same sex marriage would still be null and void, as it would be ultra vires – since it is outside of the power of any State (or the Church) to legislate against the natural law. Marriage was instituted by God as relationship between one man and one woman, exclusive of all others and ended only by the death of one of the spouses, for the procreation and education of children, and the mutual love and support of the partners. As a natural institution, marriage clearly predates the rise of States, which have no power to alter its essential qualities. Aside from maintaining and proclaiming the constant teaching of the Church, how might we be required to bear witness in the changed circumstances that are likely to be upon us in the near future? Firstly, we will need to ensure that we do not agree to place ourselves in a situation that would ordinarily be understood as signifying approval of the new arrangements. A clear example of this is that one could never justify attending a “same sex marriage” ceremony. I believe it will also be necessary for clergy to consider whether they should surrender their civil marriage licenses, rather than simply rely upon an exemption granted under the legislation. In the case that clergy were to repudiate their power to give civil recognition to a marriage, they would still of course retain their authority from the Church to preside at a Church wedding. If we understand correctly that the State is attempting a substantial change to the natural institution of marriage, then it is actually creating a new institution that is based on a lie about human nature, in order to legitimate something that is gravely sinful. In such circumstances, I question whether Catholic couples should even seek civil recognition for a valid Church marriage. The best Catholic witness may be to abandon a perverted civil institution to its own authors and promoters. The survey result should not surprise us, in that it reveals that the so-called “moral majority” has ceased to exist. We live in a Godless society, immersed in a radically secular culture. The nineteenth century Polish author Adam Mickiewicz might have been describing our current situation when he wrote (in Pan Tadeusz ): “That rabble had a mighty power over minds, for when the Lord God sends punishment on a nation he first deprives its citizens of reason. And so the wiser heads dared not resist the fops, and the whole nation feared them as some pestilence, for within itself it already felt the germs of disease. They cried out against the dandies but took pattern by them; they changed faith, speech, laws, and costumes. That was a masquerade, the license of the Carnival season, after which was to follow the Lent of slavery.” This is no idle warning: the abuse of freedom sets a society on the path to dictatorship. The abuse of freedom and the deification of personal autonomy are expressed and promoted by the sexual revolution. The easy availability of contraception with the advent of “the Pill”, meant that the connection between the unitive and procreative dimensions of human sexuality was broken in practice on a vast scale. This made possible the sexual revolution in the 1960s, and propelled it into our own times. Purity and chastity were abandoned, as it became easy to live together without benefit of marriage, and to avoid the “burden” of children. Can we be surprised if, in an atmosphere of recreational and promiscuous sex among men and women, those with same sex attraction sought approval for a similar lifestyle among themselves? At first, this “liberation” movement rejected marriage for homosexuals as “bourgeois”. Now, it seeks the ultimate form of acceptance by imitating the institution it had once mocked.